History Names

These names are used primarily to refer to historical persons. They are not commonly used by other people.
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ALPHEGEmHistory
Middle English form of ÆLFHEAH.
ALPHONSUSmHistory
Latinized form of ALFONSO. This name was borne by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, an 18th-century Italian bishop who is regarded as a Doctor of the Church.
ALWILDAfHistory
Latinized form of ALFHILD. This was the name of a legendary female Scandinavian pirate, also called Awilda.
ATTILAmHistory, Hungarian
Possibly means "little father" from Gothic atta "father" combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of a 5th-century leader of the Huns, a nomadic people from Central Asia who had expanded into Eastern Europe by the 4th century. Attila was the name given to him by his Gothic-speaking subjects in Eastern Europe; his real name may have been Avithohol.
AURANGZEBmHistory
Means "honouring the throne" in Persian. This was the name of a 17th-century Mughal emperor of India.
BADEMUSmHistory
Latinized form of a Persian name of unknown meaning. Saint Bademus was a 4th-century Persian martyr who was a victim of Shapur II's persecutions.
BEDEmHistory
Modern form of the Old English name Baeda, possibly related to Old English bed "prayer". Saint Bede, called the Venerable Bede, was an 8th-century historian, scholar and Doctor of the Church.
BLEDAmHistory
Possibly from a Turkic root meaning "wise". According to other theories the name was of Gothic origin, or was a Gothicized form of a Hunnic name. This was the name of the brother of Attila.
BRUNHILDAfHistory
Variant of BRÜNHILD, referring to the Frankish queen.
BUDDHAmHistory
Means "enlightened" in Sanskrit. This is a title applied to Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, as well as to a handful of other enlightened individuals.
CAEDMONmHistory
Meaning unknown, though the first element is likely connected to Brythonic caed meaning "battle". Saint Caedmon was a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon poet who supposedly received his poetic inspiration from a dream. Our only knowledge of him is through the historian Bede.
CAJETANmHistory
English form of CAIETANUS.
CALIGULAmHistory
Means "little boot" in Latin. This was a nickname for the Roman emperor Gaius Caesar Germanicus given to him in his youth by his father's soldiers.
CAMBYSESmHistory
From Καμβυσης (Kambyses), the Greek form of the Old Persian name Kambujiya, which is of unknown meaning. Two Persian kings bore this name, including Cambyses II who conquered Egypt.
CANUTEmHistory
Anglicized form of KNUT.
CARLOMANmHistory, Ancient Germanic
From a Germanic name derived from karl (see CHARLES) and man "man". This was the name of several Frankish rulers, including the 8th-century Carloman I who ruled jointly with his brother Charlemagne for a time.
CHAGATAImHistory
Usual English spelling of ÇAĞATAY.
CHARLEMAGNEmHistory
From Old French Charles le Magne meaning "CHARLES the Great". This is the name by which the Frankish king Charles the Great (742-814) is commonly known.
CNUTmHistory
Variant of KNUT.
CONFUCIUSmHistory
Anglicized form of the Chinese name Kong Fuzi. The surname (Kong) means "hole, opening" and the title 夫子 (Fuzi) means "master". This was the name of a 6th-century BC Chinese philosopher. His given name was Qiu.
CONSTANTINEmHistory
From the Latin name Constantinus, a derivative of CONSTANS. Constantine the Great (272-337) was the first Roman emperor to adopt Christianity. He moved the capital of the empire from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople (modern Istanbul).
CYRAfHistory
Meaning unknown. Saint Cyra was a 5th-century Syrian hermit who was martyred with her companion Marana.
DIOCLETIANmHistory
From the Roman cognomen Diocletianus, a derivative of DIOKLES. This was the name of a Roman emperor of the 3rd and 4th centuries. He is remembered for persecuting Christians, but he also reformed and stabilized the crumbling Empire.
DOMITIANmHistory
From the Roman cognomen Domitianus, itself derived from the family name DOMITIUS. This was the name of a 1st-century Roman emperor, Titus Flavius Domitianus.
EDANAfHistory
Latinized form of ÉTAÍN. This was the name of an early Irish saint.
EVERILDfHistory
Latinized form of EOFORHILD. This was the name of a 7th-century English saint.
FLAVIANmHistory
From the Roman family name Flavianus, which was derived from FLAVIUS. This was the name of several early saints including a 5th-century patriarch of Constantinople who was beaten to death.
FRIDESWIDEfHistory
Modern form of the Old English name Friðuswiþ, formed of the elements friþ "peace" and swiþ "strong". Saint Frideswide was an 8th-century English princess who became a nun. She is credited with establishing Christ Church in Oxford.
GENGHISmHistory
From the title Genghis (or Chinggis) Khan, meaning "universal ruler", which was adopted by the Mongol Empire founder Temujin in the late 12th century. Remembered both for his military brilliance and his brutality towards civilians, he went on to conquer huge areas of Asia and Eastern Europe.
GERONIMOmHistory
From Gerónimo, a Spanish form of JEROME. This is the better-known name of the Apache leader Goyathlay (1829-1909). It was given to him by the Mexicans, his enemies.
GOBNATAfHistory
Latinate form of GOBNAIT.
GORDIANmHistory
From the Roman cognomen Gordianus which meant "from Gordium", Gordium being the capital of Phrygia in Asia Minor. This is the name by which three Roman emperors are known.
GRATIANmHistory
From the Roman name Gratianus, which meant "grace" from Latin gratus. Saint Gratian was the first bishop of Tours (4th century). This was also the name of a Roman emperor.
HADRIANmHistory
From the Roman cognomen Hadrianus, which meant "from Hadria" in Latin. Hadria was the name of two Roman settlements. The first (modern Adria) is in northern Italy and was an important Etruscan port town. The second (modern Atri) is in central Italy and was named after the northern town. The Adriatic Sea is also named after the northern town.... [more]
HAMILCARmPhoenician (Latinized), History
Means "brother of Melqart" from Phoenician ha "brother" combined with the name of the god MELQART. Hamilcar was a 3rd-century BC Carthaginian general, the father of Hannibal.
HAMMURABImBabylonian (Anglicized), History
From Akkadian Hammu-rapi, probably derived from Amorite, another Semitic language. Various meanings, such as "uncle is a healer", have been suggested.... [more]
HANNIBALmPhoenician (Latinized), History
Means "grace of Ba'al" from Phoenician hann "grace" combined with the name of the god BA'AL. Hannibal was the Carthaginian general who threatened Rome during the Second Punic War in the 3rd century BC.
HASDRUBALmPhoenician (Latinized), History
Means "Ba'al helps" from Phoenician azru "help" combined with the name of the god BA'AL. Hasdrubal was a Carthaginian general, the brother of Hannibal.
HIAWATHAmHistory, Native American, Iroquois
From the Iroquoian name Haio-went-ha meaning "he who combs". This was the name of a Mohawk or Onondaga leader who founded the Iroquois Confederacy, possibly in the 15th century. He was later the subject of a fictionalized 1855 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
HYACINTHAfHistory
Latinate feminine form of HYACINTHUS, used to refer to the 17th-century Italian saint Hyacintha Mariscotti (real name Giacinta).
INNOCENTmHistory
From the Late Latin name Innocentius which was derived from innocens "innocent". This was the name of several early saints. It was also borne by 13 popes including Innocent III, a politically powerful ruler and organizer of the Fourth Crusade.
IRNERIUSmHistory
Possibly from Wernerius, a Latinized form of the Germanic name WERNER. This was the name of a 12th-century Italian scholar and jurist.
IVESmHistory
English form of YVES, used to refer to Saint Ives (also called Ivo) of Huntingdonshire, a semi-legendary English bishop.
JOSEPHUSmDutch, History
Latin form of JOSEPH. This form is used by Dutch Catholics. In English, it is used primarily to refer to the 1st-century Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus.
JULITTAfHistory
Diminutive of JULIA. This was the name of a 4th-century saint who was martyred in Tarsus with her young son Quiricus.
JUSTINIANmHistory
From the Latin name Iustinianus, which was derived from Iustinus (see JUSTIN). This was the name of a 6th-century Byzantine emperor who attempted to restore the borders of the Roman Empire.
JUVENALmHistory, Portuguese
From the Roman cognomen Iuvenalis which meant "youthful" in Latin. Juvenal was a Roman satirist of the 1st century.
KATERIfHistory
From the Mohawk pronunciation of KATHERINE. This was the name adopted by the 17th-century Mohawk woman Tekakwitha upon her baptism. She has been beatified by the Catholic Church.
KREKAfHistory
Meaning unknown, possibly of Turkic or Germanic origin. This name was borne by the most powerful of Attila's wives.
LADISLASmHistory
Latinized form of VLADISLAV.
LADISLAUSmHistory
Latinized form of VLADISLAV.
LIVYmHistory
Form of LIVIUS used to refer to the Roman historian Titus Livius.
LOTHAIRmHistory
English form of LOTHAR.
LUCANmHistory
From the Roman cognomen Lucanus, which was derived from the name of the city of Luca in Tuscany (modern Lucca). Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, commonly called Lucan, was a 1st-century Roman poet.
MACBETHmHistory
Anglicized form of the Gaelic given name Mac Beatha meaning "son of life", implying holiness. This was the name of an 11th-century Scottish king. Shakespeare based his play 'Macbeth' loosely on this king's life.
MAHATMAmHistory
From the Indian title महात्मा (Mahatma) meaning "great soul", derived from Sanskrit महा (maha) meaning "great" and आत्मन् (atman) meaning "soul, spirit, life". This title was given to, among others, Mohandas Karamchand, also known as Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).
MAKEDAfHistory
Possibly means "greatness" in Ethiopic. This was the name of an Ethiopian queen of the 10th-century BC. She is probably the same person as the Queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon in the Old Testament.
MARIAMNEfHistory
From Μαριαμη (Mariame), the form of MARIA used by the historian Josephus when referring to the wife of King Herod.
MARTIALmHistory
From the Roman cognomen Martialis, which was derived from the name of the Roman god MARS. The name was borne by Marcus Valerius Martialis, now commonly known as Martial, a Roman poet of the 1st century.
MILBURGAfHistory
Derived from the Old English elements milde "gentle" and burg "fortress". Saint Milburga, the sister of Saint Mildred, was a daughter of a 7th-century Mercian king. She was supposedly in possession of magical powers.
NAPOLEONmHistory, English
From the old Italian name Napoleone, used most notably by the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), who was born on Corsica. The etymology is uncertain, but it is possibly derived from the Germanic Nibelungen meaning "sons of mist", a name used in Germanic mythology to refer to the keepers of a hoard of treasure (often identified with the Burgundians). Alternatively, it could be connected to the name of the Italian city of Napoli (Naples).
OCTAVIANmHistory, Romanian
From the Roman name Octavianus, which was derived from the name OCTAVIUS. After Gaius Octavius (later the Roman emperor Augustus) was adopted by Julius Caesar he took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.
ORIGENmHistory
From the Greek name Ωριγενης (Origenes), which was possibly derived from the name of the Egyptian god HORUS combined with γενης (genes) "born". Origen was a 3rd-century theologian from Alexandria. Long after his death some of his writings were declared heretical, hence he is not regarded as a saint.
OVIDmHistory
From the Roman family name Ovidius, which was possibly derived from Latin ovis "a sheep". Alternatively, it could have a Sabellic origin. Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, was a 1st-century BC Roman poet who often wrote on the subjects of love and mythology. He was sent into exile by Emperor Augustus for no apparent reason.
PASCHALmHistory
Variant of Paschalis (see PASCAL). Paschal or Paschalis was the name of two popes.
PÉPINmHistory
Frankish name of unknown meaning. It possibly means "awe-inspiring" from Frankish bib- "to tremble". This was the name of three majordomos of Austrasia including Pépin III the Short, who became the first Carolingian king of the Franks. He was the father of Charlemagne.
PLINYmHistory
From the Roman family name Plinius, which is of unknown meaning. Two 1st-century Romans are known by this name: Gaius Plinius Secundus (called Pliny the Elder), a scientist and historian who died during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius; and Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (called Pliny the Younger), an author and statesman.
PLUTARCHmHistory
From the Greek name Πλουταρχος (Ploutarchos), which was derived from πλουτος (ploutos) "riches, wealth" and αρχος (archos) "master". Plutarch was a 1st-century Greek historian.
POMPEYmHistory
Modern form of the Roman family name Pompeius, which was probably derived from a Sabellic word meaning "five". A notable bearer was the 1st-century BC Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey the Great.
PTOLEMYmHistory
From the Greek name Πτολεμαιος (Ptolemaios), derived from Greek πολεμηιος (polemeios) meaning "aggressive, warlike". Ptolemy was the name of several Greco-Egyptian rulers of Egypt, all descendants of Ptolemy I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. This was also the name of a Greek astronomer.
QUINTILIANmHistory
From the Roman cognomen Quintilianus, which was itself derived from the Roman name QUINTILLUS. A notable bearer was the 1st-century rhetorician Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, simply known as Quintilian in English.
ROXELANAfHistory
From a Turkish nickname meaning "Ruthenian". This referred to the region of Ruthenia, covering Belarus, Ukraine and western Russia. Roxelana (1502-1558), also known by the name Hürrem, was a slave and then concubine of Süleyman the Magnificent, sultan of the Ottoman Empire. She eventually became his wife and produced his heir, Selim II.
SALADINmHistory
Anglicized form of SALAH AL-DIN.
SARGONmHistory, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew form סַרְגּוֹן (Sargon) of the Akkadian name Sharru-ukin, from šarru meaning "king" and kīnu meaning "legitimate, true". This was the name of the first king of the Akkadian Empire, beginning in the 24th century BC. It was also borne by the 8th-century BC Assyrian king Sargon II, who appears briefly in the Old Testament. The usual English spelling of the name is based on this biblical mention, applied retroactively to the earlier king.
SPARTACUSmHistory
Means "from the city of Sparta" in Latin. Spartacus was the name of a Thracian-born Roman slave who led a slave revolt in Italy in the 1st century BC. He was eventually killed in battle and many of his followers were crucified.
STANISLASmHistory
Latinized form of STANISLAV.
SULEIMANmHistory
Westernized form of SÜLEYMAN.
SWITHINmHistory
From the Old English name Swiðhun or Swiþhun, derived from swiþ "strong" and perhaps hun "bear cub". Saint Swithin was a 9th-century bishop of Winchester.
TÁHIRIHfHistory
Variant of TAHIRA. This was the title of Fatimah Baraghani, a 19th-century Persian poet, theologian and reformer.
TAMERLANEmHistory
Westernized form of Timur i Leng (see TIMUR).
TARQUINmHistory
From the Roman name Tarquinius which is of unknown meaning, possibly Etruscan in origin. This was the name of two early kings of Rome.
TEMUJINmHistory
Means "of iron" in Mongolian, derived ultimately from the Turkic word temür "iron". This was the original name of the Mongolian leader better known by the title Genghis Khan. Born in the 12th century, he managed to unite the tribes of Mongolia and then conquer huge areas of Asia and Eastern Europe.
THEODORICmHistory
From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the people", derived from the elements theud "people" and ric "power, ruler". It was notably borne by Theodoric the Great, a 6th-century king of the Ostrogoths who eventually became the ruler of Italy. By Theodoric's time the Ostrogoths were partially Romanized and his name was regularly recorded as Theodoricus. The Gothic original may have been Þiudreiks.
TIMOURmHistory
Variant of TIMUR.
TIMURmTatar, Chechen, Kazakh, Uzbek, Russian, History
From the Turkic name Temür meaning "iron". Timur, also known as Tamerlane (from Persian تیمور لنگ (Timur e Lang) meaning "Timur the lame"), was a 14th-century Turkic leader who conquered large areas of Western Asia.
TRAJANmHistory, Macedonian
From the Roman cognomen Traianus, which is of unknown meaning. The Roman emperor Trajan (full name Marcus Ulpius Traianus) is considered among the most capable men to have led the empire. His military accomplishments include victories over Dacia and Parthia.
TULLYmHistory
Form of Tullius (see TULLIO) used to refer to the Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero.
VALERIANmRussian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Romanian, History
From the Roman cognomen Valerianus, which was itself derived from the Roman name VALERIUS. This was the name of a 3rd-century Roman emperor. Several saints also had this name, including a 2nd-century martyr of Lyons.
VEDASTUSmHistory
Possibly a Latinized form of a Germanic or Celtic name, possibly Germanic WIDOGAST. This was the name of a 6th-century saint who helped to convert the Frankish king Clovis to Christianity.
VESPASIANmHistory
From the Roman cognomen Vespasianus, derived either from Latin vesper meaning "west" or "evening" or vespa meaning "wasp". This was the name of a 1st-century Roman emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, the founder of the Flavian dynasty.
VORTIGERNmHistory
English form of GWRTHEYRN.
WENCESLASmHistory
Latinized form of Veceslav (see VÁCLAV).
WENCESLAUSmHistory
Latinized form of Veceslav (see VÁCLAV).
XERXESmHistory
Greek form of the Persian name Khshayarsha which meant "ruler over heroes". This was a 5th-century BC king of Persia, the son of Darius the Great. He attempted an invasion of Greece, which ended unsuccessfully at the battle of Salamis.
ZARATHUSTRAmHistory
Possibly means "golden camel" in Old Iranian, derived from zarat meaning "golden" combined with ushtra meaning "camel". Zarathustra was the Persian prophet who founded the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism about the 10th century BC.